Monday, 3 September 2018

Holiday Diary: What I Read This Summer

Why, hello! It's been a busy old summer of travelling for me this year. I first took a holiday to Spain with my family and then I was off camping around France for three weeks with two of my best friends. It's been hectic and I've loved every minute of it. Spain was the relaxing trip I needed whereas France offered me the adventure I didn't even know I was craving! It was the trip of a lifetime and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Anyway, let's move on to the real reason I'm here today... to discuss all of the books I read on my travels! I managed a fair few so let's get straight in.


Vicious by V. E. Schwab
2013 • 366 pages • Tor Books

This was one of only two books that I actually read from my Summer Holiday Reading List post. That TBR may have been a bit of a fail but this book was a complete gem. Schwab is fast becoming one of my new favourite writers and I’ve devoured four of her books in the last year. It was actually her Shades of Magic series that got me out of a dreaded reading slump at the beginning of 2018 so her books have done me a world of good. Vicious is different to Shades of Magic in that it’s a contemporary about super-villains as opposed to a heavily detailed fantasy, but I loved it no less and savoured every minute of it. I’m steadily awaiting the sequel which comes out this month and I’ve even got it on pre-order. Excited, much?

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

A Song of War by Various
2016 • 444 pages • Knight Media

I’m a bit late getting around to reading the third novel by The H Team but I finally decided to pick it up this summer. I had similar feelings for this one as I did for A Day of Fire – I liked it but it didn’t blow me away. I still think the authors themselves did a great job at working with one another and weaving together an epic retelling of The Illiad, but something was missing that stopped me from falling in love with the story. I enjoyed the time I spent with this one, but it’s not my favourite.

Overall rating: 3 stars

2017 • 366 pages • Tor Books

Honeyman’s debut really surprised me. I’m always a bit cautious about reading books that have a lot of hype surrounding them but, in this case, I needn’t have worried. I was swept up in Eleanor’s story and although I found her to be a slightly annoying protagonist at first, she grew on me as the book went on. By the end, I was in love with the story. The best part is I didn’t see it coming, which I think is why I enjoyed it so much.

Overall rating: 4 stars

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
2011 • 328 pages • Granta Books

I’d first heard of The Sisters Brothers a few years ago when it was nominated for the Manbooker, but I didn’t have any interest in reading it at the time. Then out of the blue, I stumble across the trailer on YouTube for the film coming out later this year. Naturally my interest is piqued and I order myself a copy right away. Amid this new-found excitement I was keen to get started on it straight away, but unfortunately the whole experience ended up being a bit underwhelming. The plot didn’t grab me, I felt the characters didn’t have a lot of depth – overall it wasn’t for me. Trial and error, guys. Trial and error.

Overall rating: 2 stars

Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato
2014 • 416 pages • Hodder Paperbacks

This is my third Marina Fiorato novel and she’s become my go-to for when I’m in the mood for some light historical fiction. Any of you out there familiar with Shakespeare might be able to guess that this one is centred around two of the main characters from Much Ado About Nothing, my personal favourite of Shakespeare’s works. Beatrice and Benedick was so much fun and I was worried at first because on paper it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but Fiorato builds a backstory that felt real and fits with the structure of the original play. I’ve got two more of her books waiting to be read on my shelves so I’ll be sure to get around to those.

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
2008 • 592 pages • Penguin

It turns out whilst I was on my travels around France, I discovered that I didn’t bring enough books with me. Terrible, I l know. Luckily, I was travelling with two of my besties who also love books, so my friend Victoria let me borrow one from her own portable library. Company of Liars came highly recommended and I had never read any of Karen Maitland’s novels before, but gritty historical fiction about a band of misfits during the Black Plague sounded right up my street. I trusted my gut on this one and it payed off because I loved this story. I fell in love with the characters and throughout you can sense something untoward is going on but I never saw it coming. And the ending – that twist, guys. Well worth the read.

Overall rating: 4 stars

So, there we have it. The books I read on my holidays this summer. Not a bad wrap up, I don’t think. Vicious was a standout read for me this summer but Eleanor Oliphant and Company of Liars are the two that really took me by surprise.

Which books have you read and loved this summer?

If you’d like to check out more of my reviews and wrap-ups you can find them here.

Until next time – happy reading, booklovers!


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